LifestyleJPMorgan Chase celebrates 5 years of advancing Black Pathways

JPMorgan Chase celebrates 5 years of advancing Black Pathways

In a celebration that included a pre-reception, delectable three-course dinner and powerful panels, JPMorgan Chase commemorated five years of its Advancing Black Pathways (ABP) initiative on Feb. 22.  Hosted at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the event highlighted ABP’s many efforts toward empowering Black communities, and offered an opportunity to celebrate Black brilliance, resilience and excellence.

“I count it a privilege to stand before you during Black History Month in this beautiful, Black museum, dedicated to uplifting the rich history of Black people marked by struggle, resilience and triumph. And it is an honor to celebrate Advancing Black Pathways’ fifth anniversary, reflective of our sincere and firm commitment to be a part of the triumphs and advancement of Black people,” said Alicia Wilson, managing director of JPMorgan Chase’s Regional Philanthropy for North America.

In alignment with JPMorgan Chase’s overall diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategic framework, ABP works to strengthen the economic foundation of Black communities throughout the nation and world.  Since February 2019, through funding, educational programming, training and more, the initiative has worked to recruit and retain diverse talent, develop leaders, support Black-owned businesses and improve the financial health of Black communities globally.

“Across the firm, we live by the belief that the strength of our business is linked to the vitality of the communities we serve, and so we show up,” explained Wilson, who said she’s traveled across the nation bearing witness to the JPMorgan’s Chase’s philanthropic and community efforts. “We show up as listeners and learners, eager to hear from local residents, community advocates and policymakers about how we can help solve local challenges.”

Advancing Black Pathways bolsters people with tools and opportunities to be: financially literate, healthy and wealthy; to grow in business and entrepreneurship; support education opportunities and offer career and skills development; and increase community relationships through constructive partnerships with organizations that can drive DEI efforts worldwide.

A portion of the exhibit celebrating the fifth anniversary of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways initiative, held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, is shown here. (Micha Green/The Washington Informer)
“Through our various initiatives and commitments, we have created opportunities, promoted economic empowerment, and broken down barriers for Black individuals and businesses,” said Byna Elliott, global head of Advancing Black Pathways.

Over the past five years, ABP has been quite busy.  

According to an overview released by JPMorgan Chase, ABP has supported over 16,000 Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, offering boot camps and coaching, and creating more economic opportunities in African American communities.  

Further, ABP has been committed to advancing educational and career opportunities for Black students and supporting historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  

In addition to the initiative’s $30 million commitment to HBCUs, JPMorgan Chase is the first financial institution to partner with the National Pan-Hellenic Council and all nine historically Black Greek letter organizations, also known as the “Divine Nine.”

“Sustainability is the key word for all of us. Endowments represent sustainability. So improving, increasing, enhancing our endowments, that’s what we’re focused on a lot,” explained Dr. Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University and former international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “Making sure students are properly educated, it takes funding to do that.”

Glover was one of the participants in the “HBCU Sustainability,” panel along with United Negro College Fund (UNCF) President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax, Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen, and moderated by JPMorgan Chase’s Kisha Porch, managing director and division director of Consumer Community Banking. Other featured panelists throughout the event included Jamie Dimon, Thelma Ferguson, Mellody Hobson and Tanya Barnes. 

In a video, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore also offered celebratory remarks in honor of ABP and JPMorgan Chase’s continued commitment to empowering Black communities.  

A Party Celebrating Black Excellence, Looking to the Future 

JPMorgan Chase did not hold back from its celebration of Black culture, history and excellence during the Advancing Black Pathways celebration.

The menu alone – featuring the most delicious, savory, collard greens — served as an exhibit in the historic museum, located at 1400 Constitution Avenue NW.  The food was provided by  NMAAHC’s Sweet Home Cafe.

“We’re exhibiting ourselves, and we like to tell the story. We want to make sure that everyone knows where the food comes from, and the people that paved the way for us, and we want to give homage to them, and then we also put a spin on it with the new chefs of today,” Denise Jones, general manager of Sweet Home Cafe, told The Informer.

The event kicked off with an uplifting performance by Howard University’s Gospel Choir and the night concluded with a dynamic performance by Doug E. Fresh, who showcased his incredible beat-boxing skills, swag-filled dance moves and classic rap lyrics.  

“Black excellence scream, ‘ho,’” the rapper said in his celebrated song “The Show” (1986), causing the jamming crowd, already on their feet, to go wild.

While the event celebrated ABP’s work and achievement over the past five years, JPMorgan Chase leadership emphasized that the initiative nor the financial institution is finished working to uplift communities of color overall.

“As we celebrate five years of Advancing Black Pathways, I’m filled with promise and excitement about our work underway to expand opportunities for all, including increasing access for Black communities,”  Wilson said.

Elliott explained JPMorgan Chase’s goal for a more equal, diverse and just society for all.

“As we look towards the future, we are excited to see the continued success and growth of ABP as we work towards a more equitable and inclusive society for all,” Elliott declared.

Source: Washington Informer

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